A bit inland, you’ll discover thick forests, sunny vineyards and sparkling lakes. Taken all together, a night spent camping under the Rhode Island stars, noshing on local clam cakes and jumbo Quahogs to the gentle sound of waves lapping the shore, is just about nirvana.
Camping and mansions don’t typically couple, but when in Rome – Newport is legendary for its Gilded Age mansions, and the coast-hugging 3.5-mile Cliff Walk will show them off in all their glory. Better yet, swivel your attention to the dramatic views of Narragansett Bay, once reserved just for the local elite.
The nearby towns of Bristol, Warren and Barrington form the East Bay area. This is New England as you’ve always pictured it, with charming village streets, dramatic coastlines, and history at every turn. The flat, well-paved East Bay bike path runs 14.5 scenic miles from Providence to Bristol, offering incredible views along the way.
Explore tidal pools at Beavertail State Park in Jamestown, where you’ll find creatures, shells and beach glass; or bring a picnic and a kite to the lovely Brenton Point State Park, where you can also hike along the Atlantic.
On the eastern side of the Narragansett Bay, the glacier-formed lowlands of Goosewing Beach Preserve offer a little-known reprieve of pristine dunes and sandy beach for swimming, hiking or fishing.
South County, the state’s southernmost region, is home to gorgeous beaches, lush farms, and tons of fresh seafood. You’ll want to carve out a whole day to explore Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge, where you can kayak or wade through the salt pond.
Block Island is a short ferry ride away, but very worth the trip from Port Judith. Not only does the island boast some of the most lovely white sand beaches you’ve ever seen, but also charming little streets, dramatic cliffs and scenic nature trails – you can even rent a moped to zip around in if you like. The 200-foot Mohegan Bluffs offer stunning views of the Atlantic; or take the sandy hike to the North Lighthouse, built in 1867.
This historical region, known as the “Birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution”, sits just above Providence. Quiet valleys and historical villages pepper its rolling hills, cut through by the rush of the Blackstone River. In Apple Valley, you’ll find a cluster of farms where you can pick-your-own fruit or take a scenic bike ride down the Blackstone River Bikeway. Craft breweries and wineries abound in this area, so take your pick for a refreshment after.
Make your way to the top of Neutaconkanut Hill for sweeping views of charming Providence; or hike the two-mile loop at John H. Chafee Nature Preserve to Rome Point, where you might catch a few seals sunbathing on the rocks.
Bouldering is the name of the game at Lincoln Woods State Park, a 627-acre park with swimming, kayaking, and more. For the uninitiated, you don't go as high bouldering as you do rock climbing, but you also don’t use ropes. If that’s your thing, this is your spot.